Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Capital Punishment?

The headline in the paper this morning is "Pressure Rises Over Executions." The accompanying article reminds us that Texas continues to head the list as "death-penalty leader."

I find it interesting that most of the world -- other than Muslim nations and the US -- no longer practice capital punishment. I used to be a proponent of it. And I could argue it from Scripture, too. Maybe I'm just getting soft in my older age, but I just don't see that it accomplishes much. It doesn't seem to be a deterent to crime. I'm beginning to wonder if its main purpose is to give us some kind of feeling of revenge: "He got what he deserved." If that is the best case we can offer, it certainly is not Christlike.

"What about the victims and their families?" someone might say. And I feel that same emotion. But taking the life of the murderer does not bring any satisfaction. Yes, put the murderer away for life. But I just don't feel so comfortable taking a life.

I'm not on a crusade here. I'm still not even sure I am opposed to capital punishment. But I am certainly leaning more away from it. And I am much more sympathetic to those opposed to it than I once was. Yes, I could still make a Scriptural argument for it. But as I am more and more being drawn to Christlikeness, I am also more inclined to extend mercy and grace.


Jeff said...

I've long thought that capital punishment doesn't do much to help society. On the other hand, I don't get the sense that our worst offenders face much punishment when they are locked up. I think there has to be a place for harsh punishment for the most offensive crimes but in the end, nothing brings back a lost loved one.
I've not been in the position of losing someone to a crime but it seems like the people I see or hear about who feel like they have received justice for the crime against them or their family are the ones who can forgive and move on with their lives. Maybe I see that through my own lenses because the only way I really get past a hurt is to forgive and let it go.

Kyle R. said...

xOn a personal level, I'm for mercy and forgiveness. Afterall, I want to receive mercy and forgiveness.

But as a society, I believe capital punishment is justified in most capital offense convictions. As is practiced in the United States, I definitely feel that anyone under 18 years of age should not be executed. And I would probably support legislation that would limit capital punishment to ages 30 and above. But at some point society has to draw the line on capital crimes, in my opinion.

randy said...

Capital punishment deters repeat offenses. There is no record of an executed person repeating his offense.